La Poste delivers broken goods

<Photo of a package damaged in transit that nobody seems to be responsible for>A little while ago, I received this package in the mail. It contained a birthday present that I had ordered for a friend. That big rip down the centre was already made when I received the package. I’ve no idea how it happened. It looks like it was thoroughly ripped open to see if there was something valuable inside, but perhaps I’m too cynical.

Regardless of how it happened, the contents were damaged and I would have to order the same gift again. This was no big deal as my friend’s birthday was still months away.

<The plastic repackaging by La Poste>Impossible to be my fault, I carefully read the information on the yellow plastic bag that the item had been repackaged in. There was a phone number and an explanation that the bag was placed around the item to avoid further damage. Great!

I called the number and waited. A lady answered and I got as far as saying (in French): “Hello, a received a package that was—” and she hung up. She hung up! She hung up. Thanks, La Poste, for that lovely moment of xenophobia, or mere laziness that comes across as something much worse. My accent is not that strong and I had been the epitome of friendliness on the phone. How demoralising.

The lady at my local post office is much friendlier. She saw the package, the damage and the envelope, but she was, of course, powerless to take any action on behalf of La Poste. She did, however, call the same number and do my dirty work for me. I love this lady. When she’d finished, she was apologetic that La Poste had said they’d do nothing. They wanted me to get back in touch with the sender and ask him to go to his post office and claim damage even though the proof was here at my end of the delivery. “I’m sorry,” she said, shrugging in defeat. I shrugged in defeat too. Customer service fail, La Poste.

I contacted the seller and we both agreed that neither post office would cough up for the meager cost of the replacement items and sending. The result? I paid for the replacement gift and he agreed to pay the postal costs within the UK (sending to France was double the price). No problem: my birthday friend was in the UK that month, so his own present was sent to him without him having a clue what was inside. A month later, he returned with the package. I wrapped it up and handed it back to him. Thankfully, he love the gift!

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I'm a technical author, journalist and writer from Australia who has been living in Europe since 2000 and exploring the world from there. My passions are writing, snow sports and travel.

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One comment on “La Poste delivers broken goods
  1. Wendy, I commisserate entirely. You do, of course, seem to have a friendly local contact. I actually wrote a post yesterday about hating the French post office that I’ll be publishing next week!
    I’d just like to put in a good word for ebay though. I ordered a 10-euro tripod for my iphone through a French vendor on ebay. When it arrived, I took it out the unsealed blister and open the tripod only to have it snap in half. I phoned the vendor who asked me to take a photo of the broken piece and send it. Next day, I received a second tripod! My son says that ebay service is always good.

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About me

Wendy Hollands writer in Annecy, France

I'm an experienced technical writer based in the French Alps. I enjoy learning French language nuances, winter sports and travel. Drop by, my other site.

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